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Vol 1. No.

1 October 2008


By A. Marzuki

Technical Consultant of C-RAD Technologies

Vol 1. No.1 October 2008


1. IC ranking (Fabless) in the world: Qualcomm, Broadcom …, please

see at this URL for more info.

2. Wireless Transfer Technology which was announced in 2006 by

MIT is a fascinating research topic, Product based
on this technology is currently being pursued. So hopefully we can
see a product that recharge your battery’s hand phone wirelessly in
the future!

3. Femtocell development is to configure each house as smaller

version of ‘base station’, it is another version of Picocell. Femtocell is
thought could improve the cost and efficiency of the network, it will
be connected with broadband IP in house. It seems a lot of work need
to be done to roll out this technology!

4. Lead-Free material is thought good to nature, is it so? Some say it

causes in increase on Tin usage, and we back to square one, as Tin
Mining is not good for nature. What do you think?

5. Wireless PAN at 60 GHz for high definition TV is thought to offer

very high speed, high data rate wireless connectivity, but the
frequency is one of the resonant frequencies of water. Unless we are
shielded by metal, the frequency can be used at will, maybe at
different frequency? But we don’t want to waste tremendous research
effort on 60 GHz circuit design.

Please email your comments to

Vol 1. No.1 October 2008

Circuit Techniques

1. Voltage reference circuit which is much smaller than standard

band-gap circuit employs PTAT and CTAT current sources.
Ref1: A voltage reference circuit for current source of RFIC block,
Ref2: Low Power Bandgap Circuit, WIPO, WO 03/050847 A2

Please email your comments to

Vol 1. No.1 October 2008


Si N MIM Capacitors Modeling for MMIC Applications

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1 1 1 1 2
R. Sanusi , Mohd Azmi Ismail , Mohd. Nizam Othman , A.I. Abd. Rahim , A. Marzuki
1 1
Mohamed Razman Yahya and Abdul Fatah Awang Mat
TM Research & Development
TMR&D Innovation Centre
Lingkaran Teknokrat Timur
63000 Cyberjaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan.
School of Electrical Engineering,
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM),
14300 Nibong Tebal, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Email :

Abstract Silicon nitride (Si N ) metal-insulator-metal (MIM) modelling at preliminary stage

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based on High Electron Mobility Transistor (HEMTS) on Gallium Arsenide (GaAs)
substrates are presented. Device measurement and simulation of the Si3N4 MIM capacitor
is performed in the frequency range of 2 to 50 GHz to generate S-parameters data. The
behaviour of the capacitor as a function of the operating frequencies is studied. The
equivalent circuit of Si3N4 MIM capacitor is proposed representing the behaviour of the

The Metal-Insulator-Metal (MIM) capacitor is a key passive component in MMIC’s technology

for decoupling, filtering, oscillating, bypassing and matching functions [1] and is widely used in
wireless 3G, WiMAX and Wi-Fi systems. MIM capacitors are desirable in MMICs applications
because of its high capacitance density that increases circuit density and further reduces the
fabrication cost and maximize the number of components per unit chip area. MIM capacitor
provides good voltage linearity properties [2].
Overlay capacitors is used in MMIC applications like power and low noise amplifier. These
overlay capacitor consist of a metal-insulator-metal (MIM capacitor), with the most common
insulator being silicon nitride, Si N . Si N has fairly high relative permittivity (ε ), and can also
3 4 3 4 r
be used for passivating the exposed GaAs in the active devices. MIM capacitor can also be used
to realise small value of capacitors for applications such as matching networks, and it is
significantly small. MIM capacitor with air-bridge is basically one of MIM capacitor type.
This paper presents a modelling simulation of Si N MIM capacitor performance up to 50 GHz.
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Two square dimensions of Si N MIM capacitor is discussed in the study, i.e 70 µm x 70 µm and
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100 µm x 100 µm. A new equivalent circuit representing the performance of Si3N4 MIM capacitor
is proposed by including the metal and substrate parasitic effect.

Vol 1. No.1 October 2008


Figure 1 shows the top view and the cross-section of Si N MIM capacitor. Top view shows the
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bottom and top metal named metal 2 and metal 3 respectively, while the cross-section view
illustrated the thickness of the metal and insulator for the device with Si3N4 as passivation of the
device. It consist of 100 µm of GaAs substrate, 0.12 µm thickness of Si3N4 sandwiched between
the metal 2 and metal 3 with thicknesses 0.4 µm and 3.12 µm respectively. The complete
capacitor is covered by a layer of nitride with a thickness of 0.12 µm which passivate the whole

New equivalent circuit is proposed to show the performance of Si3N4 MIM capacitor, but this
circuit is still in the beginning stage of the modeling process. Equivalent circuit of Si3N4 MIM
capacitor is depicted in Figure 2. Cm2 represent the parasitic effect associated with the bottom
metal or metal 2. C is the required value for the capacitor and Rloss is the parasitic loss that
associated to C. C and R are the parasitic effect associated with the top metal or metal 3.
m3 m3
Finally, Csub and Rsub are the parasitic effect that associated with the substrate. Parasitic effect
description is explained in Table 1.

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Vol 1. No.1 October 2008

Device measurement was performed in S-parameter environment using in-house microprobe

station. The measurement result was then imported into S2P component in ADS window to
perform smith-chart plot and compared it with the proposed equivalent circuit model using the
lumped elements through two port schematic simulation. Si N MIM capacitor measurement as
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depicted in Figure 3 is connected to RF pad.

Table 1: Equivalent circuit description

Device Description
C Capacitance between bottom metal (metal 2) and substrate

C Main value of capacitance

R Dielectric loss
C Capacitance between bottom metal and substrate

R Resistance between bottom metal and substrate


C Substrate capacitance
R Substrate resistance

Vol 1. No.1 October 2008


S-parameter simulation result for Si3N4 MIM capacitor 70 µm x 70 µm is shown in Figure

4, 5 and 6 below. S(1,1) is to obtain the value of the measured data and S(3,3) indicates
the value of simulation using the proposed equivalent circuit model. In Figure 4, the data
of S(3,3) is similar to S(1,1) from 2 GHz to 15 GHz, but it starts to disperse from S(1,1)
at frequency near to 15 GHz up to 38 GHz, this situation is depicted in Figure 5. This
happens due to the value of Rsub and Csub which are optimized. At frequency is between
45 GHz to 50 GHz, the measured Si3N4 MIM capacitor device resonates 2 times, and we
can see that S(3,3) of the proposed equivalent circuit cannot be modelled S(1,1) precisely.
Figure 6 shows that the Si3N4 MIM capacitor is working as a capacitor solely without

Vol 1. No.1 October 2008

having inductance behaviour. The capacitance value for 70 µm x 70 µm Si3N4 MIM

capacitor is obtained through the imaginary admittance value as defined in ADS 2005 as
explained from (1) to (3), and the values are 2.157 pF for the measured device and 2.3737
pF for the proposed equivalent circuit.

Vol 1. No.1 October 2008

Figure 7, 8 and 9 show the S-parameter simulation for 100 µm x 100 µm Si N MIM capacitor.
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From the figures, the function of S(1,1) and S(3,3) are similar to 70 µm x 70 µm Si3N4 MIM
capacitor. In Figure 7, S(3,3) of the proposed equivalent circuit model behaves similarly to the
measured S(1,1) data. This means that the proposed equivalent circuit model performance is very
good for larger device and higher frequency. Figure 8 shows the close up simulation of 100 µm x
100 µm Si3N4 MIM capacitor at frequencies above 15 GHz. From the figure, it is obtained that the
device starts to resonate at 16.88 GHz. Figure 9 shows that Si3N4 MIM capacitor is working as a
capacitor solely without having inductance effect. The capacitance values that are defined using
the same technique stated in (1) to (3) are 4.372 pF for the measured device and 4.2905 pF for the
proposed equivalent circuit.

Vol 1. No.1 October 2008

Vol 1. No.1 October 2008

The proposed Si N MIM capacitor equivalent circuit model value using lumped elements is
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explained in Table 2. The prime capacitance value for 70 µm x 70 µm is 2.3737 pF and for 100
µm x 100 µm is 4.2905 pF. The proposed equivalent circuit model used for 70 µm x 70 µm does
not perform very well at higher frequency than 15 GHz, hence the elements value of Rsub and Csub
which give the effect for high frequency must be tuned and optimized accordingly.

Table 2 Optimization results of Si N MIM capacitor equivalent circuit

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Device 70 µm x 70 µm 100 µm x 100 um

C 3 fF 0.001 fF
C 2.3737 pF 4.2905 pF
R 0.472 Ω 4.547 Ω
C 0.1 fF 0.001 fF
R 4kΩ 91.876 Ω
C 4 fF 16.4218 fF
R 697 Ω 436 Ω


S-parameter simulation of the proposed equivalent circuit model representing Si3N4 MIM
capacitor performed very well at high and low frequency if compared to measure Si3N4 MIM
capacitor device especially device with dimension 100 µm x 100 µm. Hence, some modification
of equivalent circuit model for smaller dimension (< 70 µm x 70 µm) Si3N4 MIM capacitor will
be performed in the near future.

Vol 1. No.1 October 2008


The author would like to thank TM R&D Sdn. Bhd. for providing the grant for this work under
Project No: R05-0607-0. The help from Advanced RF systems Cluster is greatly appreciated for
guidance in using ADS-Momentum Simulator.

[1] M. Engels and R.H. Jansen, “Rigorous 3D EM Simulation and An Efficient Approximate Model of
MMIC Overlay Capacitors with Multiple Feedpoints”, IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium
Digest, 14-18 Jun 1993, Page(s): 757-760 vol.2.
[2] Piquet, J.; Cueto, O.; Charlet, F.; Thomas, M.; Bermond, C.; Farcy, A.; Torres, J.; Flechet, B,
“Simulation and Characterization of High-frequency Performances of Advanced MIM Capacitors”, Solid-
State Device Research Conference, 12-16 Sept. 2005, Page(s):497 – 500
[3] Masa Asahara, “A Novel Approach to Modeling Metal-Insulator-Metal Capacitors Over Vias With
Significant Electrical Length”, IEEE Transaction on Microwave Theory and techniques, Vol. 55, No. 4,
April 2007, Page(s) : 709 – 714
[4] Liu Lintao, Wnag Jiniang, Feng-Chang Lai, “A New Equivalebt Circuit Model of MIM Capacitor for
RFIC”, Microwave and Milimeter Wave Technology, pp. 1 – 3, April 2007.
[5] Anders Mellberg, Jorgen Stenarson, “An Evaluation of Three Simple Scalable MIM Capacitor Models”,
Microwave and Techniques, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 169 – 172, January 2006
[6] Lombard, P.; Arnould, J.-D.; Exshaw, O.; Eusebe, H.; Benech, P.; Farcy, A.; Torres, J.; “MIM
capacitors model determination and analysis of parameter influence”, IEEE International Symposium on
Industrial Electronics, Vol 3, Page(s):1129 – 1132, June 2005

Rasidah Sanusi received her B. Eng. degree in Electrical

and Electronic Engineering from University Putra
Malaysia (UPM) in 2002. Upon graduation she worked as a
Graduated Research Assistant (GRA) at UPM. She is
currently pursuing her Masters degree in Electronics at
the same university. In 2004, she joined Telekom
Research & Development Sdn. Bhd. as an assistant
researcher in the Microelectronis and Nano technology
group. She is currently involved in the MMICs
application design based on III-V material.

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